August 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Sana Noor Haq and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:35 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022
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2:27 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

As US attempts to negotiate prisoner swap, Brittney Griner is set to appear in court for ongoing trial

From CNN's Elizabeth Wolfe

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 27.
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 27. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner will continue Tuesday as US officials attempt to negotiate a prisoner swap for her release.

The scheduled appearance in a courtroom near Moscow will mark Griner's seventh hearing as Russian prosecutors accuse her of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while traveling through a Moscow airport in February.

During the trial, Griner has testified that she has a doctor's prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. Following her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers previously said.

Griner pleaded guilty last month, a decision her lawyers hope the court will take into account and potentially result in a less severe sentence. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

The proposed prisoner swap: Amid this pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms trafficker in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

Russian officials countered the US offer, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, requesting that in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout, the US also include a convicted murderer who was formerly a colonel with the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.

US officials did not accept the request as a legitimate counteroffer, the sources told CNN, in part because the proposal was sent through an informal FSB backchannel. Krasikov's release would also be complicated because he is currently in German custody.

Read the full story here.

2:28 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Zelensky welcomes first grain shipment but says Russia cannot be trusted

From CNN's Tim Lister and Oleksandra Ochman 

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni with more than 26,000 tons of Ukrainian grain on board leaves the port in Odesa region on Monday.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni with more than 26,000 tons of Ukrainian grain on board leaves the port in Odesa region on Monday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the first shipment of grain from the port of Odesa since the Russian invasion began in February.

"The port started working, the export traffic started, and this can be called the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of the food crisis in the world," Zelensky said in his daily video address.

At the same time, he warned, "We cannot be under any illusion that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports. Russia consistently provoked famine in the countries of Africa and Asia, which traditionally imported significant amounts of Ukrainian food. And now — in conditions of extreme heat, as this year in Europe, the threat of a price crisis and a certain food shortage is also present for some European countries."

Zelensky said that 16 ships are waiting their turn for shipment, and "we are ready to make a proper contribution to the stabilization of the world food market."

He also said that more than a million jobs in Ukraine rely on traffic resuming.

Zelensky said he'd spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron about agricultural exports and defense issues and also about financial support for Ukraine.

He said he'd asked Macron "to help us to unblock macro-finance, which has stalled in Europe. I want to remind all the leaders that it is 9 billion euros. These are not trifles for us, but important social things — these are our pensions, these are our salaries, support for immigrants."

8:38 p.m. ET, August 1, 2022

Ukrainian military claims it has repelled multiple attempts by Russian troops to advance in Donetsk

From CNN's Tim Lister

Every attempt by Russian forces to advance in the eastern Donetsk region in the past 24 hours has been repelled, according to the Ukrainian military.

In its latest update on the battlefield situation, the Ukrainian General Staff said Russian reconnaissance units had suffered losses and retreated in several areas.

Once again the focus of Russian efforts was around the city of Bakhmut.

"The enemy tried to improve the tactical position in the areas of Soledar, Vershyna and Bakhmut with assault actions, but was unsuccessful and retreated," the General Staff said.

Another Russian effort to advance near Avdiivka, north of the city of Donetsk, had also been repelled and hostilities in the area continued, it added.

North of the city of Sloviansk, the Russians continued to shell several settlements — most of them empty except for military positions. But "the Defense Forces exposed and neutralized an enemy reconnaissance group," the General Staff said.

Across much of the front line, the Russians resorted to heavy artillery and tank fire but appear to have made little headway. The General Staff claimed that the lack of Russian success on the ground was due to "significant losses of manpower, military equipment and the low level of morale" of enemy troops.

On the southern front, the military said there was widespread shelling across the River Inhulets, where the Russians are trying to stall Ukrainian advances.

8:18 p.m. ET, August 1, 2022

Grain ship departs key Ukrainian port for first time since early days of war

From CNN's Rob Picheta and Vasco Cotovio

The first ship carrying grain under a UN-brokered export deal left the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Monday, raising hopes that a global food supply crisis caused by Russia's invasion can be eased.

The M/V Razoni became the first commercial vessel to leave the crucial Black Sea port since Feb. 26, two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine.

It is bound for the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, and is carrying a cargo of around 26,500 metric tons (more than 29,000 US tons) of corn, the United Nations said.

The journey comes after a breakthrough agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey and signed by representatives from Russia and Ukraine in July, which facilitates the resumption of vital grain exports. Some 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn have been trapped at the port of Odesa, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Power said last week.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Monday as a "day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa."

Under the terms of the deal, the ship will anchor off the coast of Istanbul at around 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, where it will be inspected before proceeding to its final destination.

Read the full story here.